Hello! It’s Thirsty Thursday
I don’t know how this story got to where it was, but let’s just say I believe it needs told. I have to get it out. I have been the appointed committee chairman for my place of employments wellness committee for 2 years now. I have sat through meeting after meeting, dedicated several hours of my time to research ways to improve employee health and activities to get them involved. Some have worked, then fizzled out. Some did not work well at all. Some we noticed was for the most part, the same 20 people out of nearly 400 participating. I am not much on giving up, or throwing in the towel, but for the past several months, I have felt like this wasn’t really my heart anymore. I felt as though I kept presenting options and coming up with plans only to see them fall apart or be picked apart by my peers.
You see, negativity is a living breathing nasty thing that is breeding all over these department halls. It shows up a lot when it comes to health and wellness among the stubborn employees I share my 7.5 hours a day with. Every time I bring back the news of what the wellness committee is excited to try to implement there is always MORE than one (several) who oppose the idea. No matter how damn perky and excited I am. I take it personally, these are not only my ideas, but also ideas shared with the great group that also attends the committee. Trust me when I say, we have literally tried countless activities, friendly and fair, keeping even the 82-year-old in the office eligibly included.
Yesterday, I went to my meeting, sort of dreading it, but filled with hope and a whole slew of papers and ideas to present to the group. Basically a sermon on the excuses we hear and make, and how to build up around them, and make people, including ourselves accountable. I walked in the cold meeting room, sat down in the big blue leather chair at the head of the table, and had a feeling in my gut that I shouldn’t open this can of worms just yet. That this direction was not something I thought that the majority would be ready for, and it may all seem a little “woo woo” and above anything the employees would want to hear. Then the idea came, it’s one I think has been in my head for a while, but it was time to come out. A water cooler. simple. brilliant. I thought.
Which brings me to my half full/half empty conversation. We work out of an old tobacco warehouse converted office complex of a building, we do not offer CLEAN drinking water. I am a water drinker and have been toting bottle after bottle in here to work for over two years. I received a life factory bottle as a gift for christmas, and I don’t like anything that just sits around my house not being enjoyed or used. I decided to present the solution of a water cooler provided to employees be placed in our building, through a local vending water company here in our town. I know that nothing comes for free, but we chatted with our leaders and the vote was for them to come up with funding for their employees as sort of a token of appreciation, when they have such a financial cushion themselves to spend it on this amenity.
While some leaders were willing to give give give, their were others who acted like we just asked them to donate a kidney. You see, the committee I am on has no funds. Therefore we can never make any tangible incentives available. We decided, excited as we were as a group that this was a GREAT idea, and a wonderful way to encourage the employees to drink more water as gifted by their leaders. I have seen evidence at a time when these same leaders have had fundraisers and donations for their own progress in the work place, but a few simply said no. They didn’t want to participate nor did they see the need. I lost my shit. Honest moment. I lost my shit when I heard their response. Really a NO for clean water? You don’t think the employees even deserve the choice? I remember a lot, and this is something I won’t easily forget. As the chairman I have never asked anyone to contribute anything more than their time. It just isn’t the response I was assuming I would hear.
I am not quite ready to throw in the towel as chairman, I feel as though now, I have been put in this position not only to advocate for health, but also on bealf of several other’s and their health. The water cooler was installed 3 hours after the meeting was ajourned and it’s already half “full/empty” People are using it. I don’t want to see this new clean water taken away, and I hope to inspire the ones who can fund to help.
This essay may sound like a rant, it probably really does, I have went from yesterday a feeling of success and optimisim , that in one conversation turned my glass from full to empty. 20 minutes later a employee messaged me thanking for getting the cooler that she had already visited it twice, and my cup started filling back up. The universe has a way of picking you back up if you let it. My mind is starting to adjust back to the positvie impact a simple idea can have if we let it manifest and thrive. Someone will always be there to knock your glass over, but someone else is usually right behind them offering you a generous re-fill. Cheers.